Do You Have a Healthy Relationship with Failure?


“The person most interested in success has to learn to view failure as a healthy, inevitable part of the process of getting to the top” – Joyce Brothers, the face of American Psychology.

According to Webster, inevitable is defined as, "incapable of being avoided or evaded". In other words, if you want to succeed in any capacity, there is no getting around the fact that you will fail. But I think what is more telling is Joyce deciding to use “healthy” when describing failure. How is your relationships with failure? Is it unhealthy or healthy? If you’re not sure, take a look at the list below and find out.


Evidence of an Unhealthy Relationship:

Quitting After Failure – Do you stop as soon as you hear a “no”? By quitting as soon as you encounter a “no”, you don’t give yourself the chance to build that muscle. You also make it easier to quit the next time. By doing this, you all but ensure that you will not reach your goal. I am so glad JK Rowling never gave up on her dream after hearing no.

Fear of Failure – Would you rather sit back on your laurels and not try something then to risk failing? If Colonel Harland Sanders decided to not try something new for fear of failure, then we would have never gotten the chance to have fried chicken from the world’s second-largest restaurant chain with over 22,000 locations globally in 136 countries.

Shift Blame After Failure – Do you blame other people, circumstances, timing, etc… and never take a look at yourself to see how you can tweak, change, and improve things? If Lindsey Sterling blamed Piers Morgan for giving her an X on America’s Got Talent, we would never enjoy the incredible music that she creates.


Evidence of a Healthy Relationship:

Failure is Feedback – Do you view adversity, struggle, and failure as a teacher showing you where to improve? If Michael Jordan didn’t view each failure as feedback, the Chicago Bulls would not have won 6 championships from 1991 to 1998. If he would not have struggled against the Pistons, he would not have hired Tim Grover.

Grateful for Each Failure – If you find yourself reflecting on each failure and being thankful for the pain endured? This doesn’t mean that you are jumping for joy that you went through it because failure hurts. But it means that you acknowledge that without the failure you wouldn’t be where you are now. Thomas Edison is probably the greatest example of this type of resilience. As he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Trust the Process – Are you more focused on the process rather than the end goal? By focusing on the process, you understand that failure, adversity, and struggle is part of it. As much as the tough times suck, you accept the fact that failure will happen and you don’t get too down on yourself when it does. As Todd Stottlemyre said in Episode 14, “Failure is the multivitamin of success. You need to take it”

As Joyce Brothers said, “failure is an inevitable part of the process.” We can’t change that fact. What we can change though is our relationship with failure. That my friends is up to you! So how is your relationship? Unhealthy, Healthy, or maybe even a little bit of both? Wherever you are, just keep moving forward.